China top court: reforms have improved court efficiency

China top court: reforms have improved court efficiency

[JURIST] The efficiency of the Chinese court system has been improved by 20 percent since 2013, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) [official website, in Mandarin] announced [Xinhua report] Monday. The court released two white papers on judicial reform and court transparency, recording progress it had made in accountability, trial procedure and separation of powers. According to the papers, China’s courts have improved their handling of human rights cases, wrongful accusations, and their dispensation of legal aid. The report on judicial reform [white paper] pointed to the improvement of the national aid system through a unifying organization which gave over RMB5.42 billion in funding to over 80 000 parties since 2014 alone. The white paper on progress in judicial protection [white paper] detailed the creation of a strict system for addressing misjudgments. Furthermore, the white paper directed that “presidents, vice presidents and divisional chief judges will not review and sign the written judgments of cases they did not participate in” and the deliberation sessions of judicial committees will be recorded with audio-visual devices from beginning to end.

The SPC announced [press release, in Mandarin] in February 2015 a five-year comprehensive legal reform plan to make the judiciary more impartial, fair, independent and accountable as a way to emphasize the rule of law and “safeguard national unity.” The reform had five basic goals: to 1) streamline political organization; 2) respect the law; 3) promote reforms in the law while ensuring safe and orderly reformation; 4) promote progress generally and 5) strengthen the design of the legal system and encourage local exploration and practice. By the end of 2018 the court hopes to have “promote[d] the formation of true justice, respect for justice, support the institutional environment and social atmosphere of justice.” The court hoped that these reforms will “focus on fairness and justice so that the people feel justice in every case.”